DEBATE ON REPORTS. - DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.
The SUBSTITUTE DIRECTOR OF AGRICULTURE said that his Report referred to two important matters: Land Settlement and Unemployment. In conjunction with the Report which he submitted at last Meeting, an appendix was issued showing the operations of the Land Commission and Courts during the period May 1st to December 31st, 1920. Close upon 50,000 acres of land had been dealt with. Since the last Meeting his Department had held some Courts, but they could have had many more if the country would assist them. He asked the Deputies to press the Court Registrars and other local people to do the work they were appointed to do or else clear out and let others do it. They had now got the machinery necessary for dealing with any land trouble that might arise. Personally he would be better pleased if no trouble arose at present, but he wanted to guard against what happened in the American War of Independence. They should try to learn the lesson of history and prevent slackers from grabbing the land while their bravest were engaged in deadly combat with the enemy. If the Land Department of An Dáil merely succeeded in doing that, it would have justified its existence.
The question of Unemployment would be discussed later on the Memorandum which he had submitted. He would be happy to answer any questions raised on his last Report or the present one.
The only other matter he would like to mention was that of the Agricultural Board. He had taken steps to get the County Councils to elect the best representatives, so that if it were possible to get control of that Board they would. If they could develop a position in which prominent Republicans would be in effective control of the Board some very interesting things were bound to happen. He asked Deputies to see that their local representatives were chosen at once. The first meeting would take place in May, and a definite policy for their representatives would be formulated before that date.
The Report was put and adopted.